Dubai racks up its heathcare insurance coverage for cancer and Hep C

Published:  26 Dec at 6 PM
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Expat holders of Dubai’s Essential Benefits Plan basic insurance package are to get unlimited coverage for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer as well as Hepatitis C.

According to an advisor to the Dubai Health Authority’s newly formed Dubai Health Insurance Corporation Saleh al Hashemi, the new insurance cover will start on January 1. An amount of Dh19 per health insurance policy will be deducted and placed in a trust account aimed at contributing to the cost of free cancer treatment for workers in the emirate’s Low Salary Band. As part of the initiative, the fund pool will be used to pay for cancer treatments in patients who have exceeded their sum insured limits.

In explanation of the Dh19 deduction, Al Hashemi told the media the amount is over and above the Dh550 base index rate charged for an EBP. Normally, he said, the limit for expenditure on different treatments is Dh150,000, with sub-limits also applying, meaning the cost of treatment for cancer is capped at the sum insured. The new scheme, he said, cancels out the sub-limits and ensures necessary treatments will continue. A pilot scheme comprising 21 cancer patients is already under way and includes the collaboration of several pharmaceutical companies.

By the end of next-year’s first quarter, a similar initiative involving the screening and treatment of Hepatitis C will be ongoing as part of the World Health Authority’s drive to eliminate the condition by 2021. Early diagnosis will reduce the complications of the disease, as well as giving emotional and financial support to patients. Also recently introduced are neo-natal development and preventative diabetic screening, and health insurance for expatriates over the age of 60 can be purchased, with costs starting at Dh4,000. The 12 health insurance providers are listed on the DHA’s website, and applicants who’ve been denied insurance due to age can apply to the DHIC for reconsideration.
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